Sam Sanderson of the Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI) says there’s every indication the sector is booming and moving forward on the Island.
“There are bigger and better things to come in 2018 and 2019 with recent announcements of plans for residential and commercial construction,” he says. “Residential housing starts were up 43.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, and PEI is leading the nation in commercial construction per capita.”
“We have great opportunities and partnerships within the community to make the trades a great career path and build the Island’s economy,” Sam says. “Our members are looking to hire up to 400 additional workers to keep up with the extraordinary demand.
“Multiple companies are looking for estimators and they can’t find them. Some companies have been looking for two years; one company has hired a head hunter in Ontario and has had no success in three months.”
Youth in trades
CAPEI has administered a Youth in Trades program for 25 years. The program accepts youth at risk and helps them build a trades career.
“The program is tremendous in helping youth get apprenticeships. The Government of Canada has given funding for the next three years through its Youth Employment Strategy to continue the work.”
In 2017, the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning, through the Canada-PEI labour market agreements, supported CAPEI to form Team Construction which included a Youth in Trades program.
“All government levels are listening to the needs of the industry and are working in partnership to get people interested in the trades sector.”
Sam says construction associations across Canada are seeing similar skill shortages. CAPEI is working to attract skilled trades workers with IslandBuilder.ca funded by SkillsPEI, a division of Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning. This recruitment campaign will feature radio and poster ads across the country in 2018. “We want to let people know the industry is strong on PEI, and you can build a career and a life here.”
Human resources support for members
CAPEI has 190 active members, and numbers are growing. Sam notes many of the member companies need support for their hiring needs.
The association has hired Kevin McGee as HR Manager. He regularly meets with CAPEI members and will post open positions on WorkPEI.ca.
for them. “I am working with the companies to see what their needs are now and what positions are hardest to fill. I look forward to raising awareness of the construction industry on PEI and helping to attract skilled trades workers.”
“Our members are so busy managing their work such as accounting, estimating, scheduling and staff,” Sam says. “They have told us time and time again they don’t have the time to post a job. We hope the service will promote trades and help match job seekers with employers.”
For more information about the Construction Association of PEI, call 902-368-3303.